RE: Document Control Systems

Subject: RE: Document Control Systems
From: "Dan Goldstein" <DGoldstein -at- riverainmedical -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 14 Dec 2005 12:25:28 -0500

Been there last year, done that. Before we looked at any document control systems, we wrote a detailed spec of our minimum requirements. Then, we got Those-Who-Know, Those-Who-Care, and Those-Who-Sign-Checks to look over the spec and give their comments.

Some of your spec details are in your e-mail: All employees have read-only access, all technical and user documents are included, documents are catalogued and easily searchable, system has good version control tracking, system has good write-access controls, system is hosted in-house, etc.

Some other spec details: How are documents catalogued? Do you tag documents with keywords? Can users post comments/ideas about other users' documents? Can everyone view those comments? Can tags be added or changed after initial posting? Etc... Our spec was about three pages long, and it was pretty concise.

Once you have an agreed spec, it will be easier to review the candidate applications (such as MS SharePoint, Xerox DocuShare, IBM/Lotus Domino.doc, Livelink, Documentum, etc.).

When I met vendors during this process, I insisted that they compare their out-of-the-box capabilities with our spec. Most of them (surprise!) required vendor customization that dramatically skewed the initial price comparison. The one major vendor whose product required no customization was actually disappointed! -- but we weren't.

If Those-Who-Sign-Checks insist on multiple choices over a broad price range, encourage the vendors to come up with options that will let you write a mid- and high-level spec to go with the basic one.

Caveat emptor, and keep your eyes on the spec.

-- Dan Goldstein

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Clare Turner
> Sent: Wednesday, December 14, 2005 11:58 AM
> To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> Subject: FW: Document Control Systems
> I have been tasked to select 5 "document control systems" and
> make a recommendation to our management team for a
> company-wide "solution".  The ONLY criteria I've been given
> are:  "We want to have an application, preferably web based,
> that allows all employees to have read-only access to ALL
> technical and user documentation based on user access.  We
> want it catalogued and searchable in a user-friendly way so
> folks can easily find documentation.  We want it to have good
> version control tracking and good controls on who has write
> access to each document.  The issues keep coming up that we
> have multiple copies of documents spread all over the network
> and nobody knows where to find anything."
> At this time, everyone keeps whatever they want (or create)
> on whatever portion of whatever server on our "LAN" that they
> have access to (or on their own desktop).  We DO NOT have a
> formal intranet (this is another subject and one I've been
> harping about since I started, to no avail).  I have not been
> given a price range - only that I should select "2 cheap, 2
> middle and one Cadillac".  We are a Windows server and XP
> shop (tho' I think there are Linux servers, too -  not my
> area).   Most files created are in one of the MS Office
> applications, with the exception of construction diagrams
> created in a CAD program (no, I don't know which one).
> Finally, because much of our data can be considered evidence
> in court proceedings, a hosted solution is not an option. 
> This needs to be in-house.

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